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Treasure-Island -resources and lesson plans

© Oxford University Press 2016
Teaching Highlights
Overview for Scheme of Work
Plot Summary
Lesson Plans
Student Resources
Further Reading
Teaching materials written by Ken Haworth
The author and publishers are grateful for permission to include the following copyright material in this resource:
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson first published 1833.
Extracts are taken from ‘Rollercoasters’ educational edition published 2016 (Oxford University Press).
p1: Andrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock (background), Unholy Vault Designs/Shutterstock (foreground);
p31 tl: OUP / James Fraser; p31 tr: Reproduced from Treasure Island by permission of Usborne Publishing, 83-85 Saffron Hill, London EC1N 8RT, UK.
www.usborne.com. Copyright © 2014 Usborne Publishing Ltd; p31 bl: OUP; p31 br: Andrey_Kuzmin/Shutterstock (background), Unholy Vault Designs/Shutterstock
We have tried to trace and contact all copyright holders before publication. If notified, the publishers will be pleased to rectify any errors or omissions at the
earliest opportunity.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Level of Challenge
Treasure Island is the archetypal pirate story. This
swashbuckling tale has all the elements we associate
with pirates: the treasure map where ‘X marks the spot’,
bloodthirsty men who think nothing of murder and
pillage, adventure on the high seas and a remarkable
rogue called Long John Silver whose language defines
what it is to speak like a buccaneer. Due to this novel,
expressions such as ‘pieces of eight!’, ‘Jim lad’ and
‘shiver me timbers’ have become embedded in our
Read simply as an adventure story, the novel is suitable
for all ability levels in Years 7 and 8. For the more able,
there is an opportunity to explore the language and
structure of the 19th-century novel, the presentation of
seafaring and the differing speech patterns of groups of
Key Themes
Cross-curricular Links
Trade in maritime England, and the conditions aboard
and actions on ships on the high seas are often part of
the History curriculum. In terms of media, there are
several recent examples of big budget films that use the
same basic ideas and schema as the novel.
The actions of Jim Hawkins, the young lad who is
caught up in an epic adventure, are frequently
courageous (and sometimes foolhardy). Several times
he faces death; other characters in the novel
(particularly Long John Silver) are impressed by his
bravery and fortitude. But are his actions always
motivated by courage, or is he simply doing what he
chooses in a world he doesn’t understand?
At many points in the novel, different characters behave
honourably. There is clearly a pirate code of conduct
which even the most vicious characters seem to respect
(as an example, see their behaviour when attempting a
mutiny against Silver in Chapters 28 and 29). Jim has a
chance to escape death in the stockade in Chapter 30
by running away, but he has given his word not to and
stays. It could be argued that even Silver behaves with
some honour towards Jim, although this is clearly
motivated by self-interest.
To what extent can we trust some of the characters in
this novel? Jim, the narrator, seems to admire Silver and
to find him helpful and trustworthy in the early chapters,
but he is clearly deceived, as he discovers to his cost.
Dr Livesey and Captain Smollett have doubts about
Jim’s trustworthiness when he abandons them in the
stockade. Is Ben Gunn to be trusted in what he agrees
to do for the honest men, or does his isolation and
madness mean that he is totally unreliable?
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Teaching Highlights
This Resource Pack contains 12 customizable Lesson Plans and 12 Student Resources to help you build a scheme of
work. Teaching ideas include:
Hot seating – Explore character motivation (Lesson
Plan 4)
Captain’s Log: Stardate 17 – Write extracts from
Captain Smollett’s journal (Lesson Plan 5)
Talk like a pirate – Investigate and use pirate
language (Lesson Plan 7)
Shifting perspectives – Work with narrative
viewpoint (Lesson Plan 9)
Selling the book – Write blurbs and create cover
designs (Lesson Plan 10)
The world of audio – Write and produce a radio play
(Lesson Plan 11)
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Overview for Scheme of Work
Lesson and focus
Skills and outcomes
Related resources
Lesson 1: Initial engagement
Close reading through interrogating a text
Resource 1
Lesson 2: The narrator
Deducing and inferring
Summarizing from evidence assembled
Resources 2a, 2b
Lesson 3: Plot prediction
Using clues from careful reading to predict
developments in the plot
Lesson 4: Character motivation
Speaking in role
Lesson 5: Empathizing with a
Writing journal entries (and optionally emulating a
given style)
Resource 5
Lesson 6: Cliff-hanger chapter
Analysing the structure of chapter endings
Reworking a chapter ending for increased dramatic
Resource 6
Lesson 7: The spoken language
of pirates
Grammar and vocabulary: analysis of ‘pirate speak’
Writing a short pirate dialogue
Resource 7
Lesson 8: Tracking an idea
Taking an overview of how an idea runs through a
Resources 8a, 8b
Lesson 9: Narrative viewpoint
Exploring narration in the novel
Writing as a different narrator recounting an event in
the plot
Resource 9
Lesson 10: Selling the book
Taking an overview of the whole text for the purpose
of marketing
Creating a blurb or cover design for a new edition
(with annotation)
Resource 10
Lesson 11: Changing the form of
the text
Rewriting and acting out a scene as an audio
Resource 11
Lesson 12: Oral presentation
Skimming and scanning
Self-assessment sheet
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Plot Summary
Plot outline
Part One: The Old Buccaneer
Chapter 1
The narrator (we later learn he is Jim Hawkins) tells us that he has been asked to write the whole
story, ‘keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island’. An old sailor comes to stay at the Admiral
Benbow inn (run by Jim’s parents). He keeps a keen lookout for ships or sailors and pays the narrator
a silver fourpenny every month to watch particularly for ‘a seafaring man with one leg’. In the
evenings, he drinks quantities of rum in the inn.
Chapter 2
A January morning. A ruffian called Black Dog turns up at the inn and confronts Bill, the old sailor.
There is a furious row: cutlasses are drawn and Black Dog runs away, wounded. Bill collapses. Dr
Livesey is called for. He diagnoses a stroke, bleeds Bill and puts him to bed.
Chapter 3
Bill reveals that he was first mate to Captain Flint – the most feared pirate on the high seas. As he lay
dying, Flint gave Bill a small chest and this is what his enemies are after. Jim’s father dies suddenly.
After the funeral, a horrific blind beggar appears at the inn and forces Jim to help him confront Bill. He
presses a black spot into Bill’s hand and leaves. Bill falls dead of apoplexy.
Chapter 4
Jim and his mother seek help from local villagers, but all are too terrified to assist. Jim finds the key to
the chest around Bill’s neck and he and his mother decide to open it. Inside they find a bundle of
papers and a bag of gold. The blind beggar returns to the inn. Jim and his mother take the bundle of
papers, escape and hide under a bridge.
Chapter 5
A group of seven or eight pirates pass over the bridge, go into the inn and find Bill’s body. They realize
the papers are missing. The revenue officers ride in and the ruffians scatter, but the blind one (Blind
Pew) is trampled under a horse. The pirates scramble aboard their boat in the cove and escape. Jim
hitches a ride on a horse to put the papers into Dr Livesey’s safe keeping.
Chapter 6
Dr Livesey is with Squire Trelawney. They open the bundle of papers and find an account book and a
treasure map, with points marked by red crosses. The squire says that he will charter a ship, with Dr
Livesey as ship’s doctor and Jim as cabin-boy. Livesey reminds the squire of the need for absolute
secrecy in the matter.
Part Two: The Sea Cook
Chapter 7
The squire writes from Bristol to say he’s fitted out a ship – the Hispaniola – but he has also given
away the reason for its intended voyage. He has engaged a one-legged ship’s cook called John
Silver, who has been most helpful in recruiting a full crew. Jim stays a last night with his mother at the
refurbished Admiral Benbow, then travels to Bristol by coach. The squire tells him, ‘We sail tomorrow!’
Chapter 8
Jim takes a note to Silver at the Spy-glass inn. He sees Black Dog scampering out of the door, but
Silver convinces him that he does not know him and would have nothing to do with scoundrels. Jim
describes Long John Silver (as others call him) as ‘one of the best of possible shipmates’.
Chapter 9
They embark on the Hispaniola. The captain, Smollett, has grave concerns about the purpose of the
voyage and particularly about the crew who all seem to know more about finding the treasure than he
does. The captain has the powder and arms moved to the stern and sends Jim below to assist Silver,
the cook.
Chapter 10
Fair winds sail them to Treasure Island. The men respect Silver with his astonishing ability to move
around quickly on his crutch with his parrot, named Cap’n Flint, on his shoulder screeching ‘Pieces of
eight!’ On the last night of the voyage Jim falls into a barrel while trying to retrieve an apple from the
bottom. He hears Silver talking and ‘from these dozen words I understood that the lives of all the
honest men aboard depended upon me alone’.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Plot outline
Chapter 11
From Silver’s overheard talk, Jim understands that nearly all the crew are pirates. Their plan is to wait
for the honest men to find the treasure and bring it aboard, then to kill them all and sail away. While
still in the barrel, Jim hears the cry ‘Land ho!’
Chapter 12
Jim convenes a meeting of Captain Smollett, the squire and the doctor. Having heard the plot, they
resolve to continue as normal, to make sure of the services of three crew who have not joined the
pirates, and when the time is right, ‘come to blows’. Jim reflects that at that point there will be six men
and a boy against 19 pirates.
Part Three: My Shore Adventure
Chapter 13
Treasure Island seems threatening and swampy, likely to induce fever. The men are mutinous,
desperate to get ashore – presumably to look for treasure. The captain gives the men an afternoon off
to go ashore. Jim gets unnoticed into one of the boats, then slips out on shore and makes his way
through the marshlands, giving Long John Silver the slip.
Chapter 14
Jim explores a little, then hears Silver trying to ‘turn’ Tom, an honest crewman. There’s a shot and a
scream. Silver says Alan (another of the honest crew) has been killed and, when Tom makes a run for
it, fells him with the crutch hurled into his back then stabs him. Jim runs away, in fear of his life if
Chapter 15
In an open space, Jim sees some sort of animal or cannibal, fleet of foot and bent nearly double. They
confront each other. It is Ben Gunn, marooned for three years. Gunn reveals that he has found Flint’s
treasure and requires a share of it and passage home. They hear a cannon shot and small arms fire.
Running to a nearby hillock, they see the Union Jack flying above a wood.
Part Four: The Stockade
Chapter 16
The narrative is taken up by Dr Livesey. He tells how they thought of taking the ship away, leaving the
mutinous crew on the island, but there was no wind to sail away, and besides, Jim was on the island.
He rows to the island and they find a stockade. They force the six men aboard to let them make trips
in the boat to provision the stockade. Gray, the carpenter’s mate, remains loyal and joins them.
Chapter 17
The honest men make one last trip to the stockade, but the boat is overladen (five men and
provisions). They see the pirates on the Hispaniola readying the big gun to fire at them and the pirates
on shore manning a boat to cut them off. The big gun fires and misses, but in turning the boat away
from the shot, it sinks. They can wade ashore, but hear other pirates running through the woods to
intercept them.
Chapter 18
Firing as they go, the group reaches the stockade. Redruth, Trelawney’s servant, is killed by pirate
fire. Captain Smollett raises the British flag over the stockade, which is then peppered by shots from
the Hispaniola’s big gun. They have enough food for short rations for 10 days. Suddenly Jim appears
and scrambles over the stockade wall to join them.
Chapter 19
The narrative is resumed by Jim. He gives the others a garbled message from Ben Gunn about ‘a
precious sight’. He also notes that Gunn would do anything for cheese, and by chance the doctor has
a piece of Parmesan in his snuff-box. The pirates raise the skull and crossbones pirate flag on the
Hispaniola. Jim and his company plan to let rum and the feverish climate do their worst to the pirates
until they leave in the Hispaniola. A flag of truce appears, followed by Silver himself.
Chapter 20
Silver offers terms: in return for the treasure map, the honest men can have safe passage to a safe
haven, or stay where they are, be given provisions and hold out, with Silver giving a message about
their whereabouts to the first ship he meets at sea. Captain Smollett refuses vigorously. Silver leaves,
making terrible threats.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Plot outline
Chapter 21
The pirates launch a full scale attack on the stockade and nearly succeed in taking it. The captain and
Hunter are wounded; Joyce is killed. Five mutineers are killed and one dies later of his wounds. The
attack is finally seen off, leaving four fit men in the stockade against eight pirates.
Part Five: My Sea Adventure
Chapter 22
Jim decides to sneak out of the stockade and find the boat that Ben Gunn told him he had made. He
finds a coracle-like patchwork boat, then decides to row out to the moored Hispaniola and cut it adrift.
Chapter 23
Rowing the coracle with difficulty alongside the Hispaniola, Jim manages to cut the anchor rope. As
the ship starts to turn in the current he climbs a rope and sees two pirates fighting in a cabin. He
regains the coracle, but is being pulled along by the movement of the Hispaniola. He lies in the bottom
of his boat all night, expecting to die when the ship hits the breakers (huge sea waves breaking on the
Chapter 24
The coracle is pulled and pushed by wind and tide until Jim awakes and sees the Hispaniola half a
mile away. He cannot control the coracle but finds himself nearing the ship, which seems to be floating
without direction. As the ship turns in the current, Jim clambers up the bowsprit just before the coracle
is crushed.
Chapter 25
Aboard the Hispaniola, Jim finds two pirates dead by the wheel. Israel Hands is still alive, though
badly wounded, and agrees to help Jim sail for the calm North Inlet. Jim hauls down the Jolly Roger
and the ship makes good speed around the island. Hands watches Jim with treachery in his sly
Chapter 26
Hands asks Jim to go below for wine, but Jim sees him extract a knife hidden in a rope. They sail into
the North Inlet, whereupon Hands attacks Jim, but the boat lurches and beaches, allowing Jim to
escape by climbing up the mast. Hands comes after him, throws his knife and pins Jim by the
shoulder to the mast. Jim discharges the two pistols he is carrying. Hands is killed, and falls from the
mast into the sea.
Chapter 27
Jim unpins himself from the mast then pulls in the smaller sails and cuts the mainsail away from the
mast so that the wind cannot carry the ship away. He wades ashore, makes his way by moonlight to
the stockade and walks in. He is startled to hear a screech of ‘Pieces of eight!’ The pirates have taken
the stockade and Jim becomes their prisoner.
Part Six: Captain Silver
Chapter 28
It transpires that the honest men left the stockade by agreement. Silver gives Jim the choice of joining
the pirates or death. Jim tells Silver everything he has done to thwart the pirates since the ship set out.
Silver is impressed but his pirate crew are mutinous, wanting to kill Jim. They demand the right to go
out for a council. Silver tells Jim that the doctor has given him the treasure map.
Chapter 29
The pirates re-enter from their council and give Silver the black spot. They level accusations of
incompetence at him, but he answers point by point. We learn that Dr Livesey is making regular visits
to treat the wounded pirates. Finally Silver throws the treasure map at their feet. They are ecstatic and
reinstate Silver as captain.
Chapter 30
Dr Livesey arrives to treat the men and asks to speak to Jim alone. Silver agrees. The doctor urges
Jim to jump over the stockade and run away but Jim says that he has given his word he will not. He
tells the doctor everything he’s done. As he leaves, Dr Livesey drops a large hint to Silver that
something is amiss with the treasure.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Plot outline
Chapter 31
The pirates set off to find the treasure. Silver pulls Jim along by a rope. They find the skeleton of a
sailor arranged like a pointer towards the destination shown on the map and it reminds them of the
menace of Captain Flint.
Chapter 32
They continue to follow the treasure map. An eerie voice starts to sing ‘Fifteen men on the dead man’s
chest …’ The pirates are rattled, but Silver rallies them. The voice comes again, intoning Flint’s last
words, but they recognize it as belonging to Ben Gunn and continue. They reach the treasure spot to
find that it has long ago been excavated.
Chapter 33
Silver and Jim make a last stand. As the pirates charge them, a volley of shots cuts them down and
those left alive scatter. The volley has come from Dr Livesey, Gray and Ben Gunn. The doctor tells
Jim how Ben Gunn moved the treasure to a cave. His voice in the woods delayed the pirates long
enough for the ambush to get in position. They reboard the Hispaniola then go out to the cave to see
the treasure.
Chapter 34
Over several days, the remaining crew transport the vast treasure to the Hispaniola. They leave some
supplies for the remaining pirates who will now be marooned, then sail away. They make port in
Spanish America, where Silver disappears with a bag of coins. Finally they reach England and divide
the spoils between them.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 1
Lesson 1
Focus: Initial engagement with the world of the text;
close reading of Chapter 1
Objective: To form an impression of the novel’s
setting and to ask questions of the text
Write the word ‘pirate’ on the board. Allow students
three minutes to write down as many words and
phrases as they can, suggested by this word. Take
feedback to establish a master list. Discuss how we
know so many rather strange expressions and
Read Chapter 1 with the class. It is best to read
straight through without stopping to ask or take
Ask students, working individually, to complete the
first two columns of the table in Resource 1. This is a
KWL chart (what I know, what I want to know, what I
have learned). The table should encourage students
to understand that they know a good deal about the
text just from the first chapter (the setting, the
characters of Bill and Dr Livesey), and to ask
questions of the text. The third column should be
filled in by students as they progress through the
novel. It should eventually contain the answers to the
questions posed in column 2.
Look closely at the opening paragraph with the class.
Pose questions that will focus attention on the
writer’s skill in making the story sound both true and
What is meant by ‘the whole particulars’?
Why is the exact year not given?
In what ways does the opening make us want to
read on?
What are the ‘bearings of the island’, and why
should they be kept back?
What is the effect of mentioning the ‘sabre cut’ on
the old seaman?
Split the class into two groups and ask each group,
working in pairs, to complete one of the following
(for less able students) make a list of the words in
the opening chapter that are specifically to do with
the sea or seafaring
(for more able students) what aspects of the
writing in Chapter 1 suggest that this book was
written in the 19th century rather than the 21st?
Working in groups of three or four, ask students to
compare notes and to feed back the most common
questions. Take feedback from each group with the
aim of compiling a ‘best questions’ list that can be
displayed/returned to as the reading progresses.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 2
Lesson 2
Focus: Inference and deduction – who is the narrator?
This lesson should come after the reading of Part One
(up to page 55)
Objective: To sum up the character and personality of
the narrator based on deduction and inference from
the text
Give students two minutes to come up with five
single adjectives each that describe the narrator.
Take feedback. Point out that most of these
adjectives are not given literally in the text (i.e. the
author does not have the narrator say, ‘I am very
brave for my age’).
Resource 2b is designed to help students sum up
what they have inferred and deduced about the
narrator and also to practise supporting assertions
with evidence from the text. It might be necessary to
work with some students or indeed with the whole
class on the idea of ‘quoting’; examples are given on
Resource 2b of the main ways in which quotations
are used and formatted. The task is to produce a
summary of the character of Jim Hawkins based on
evidence from Part One of the text.
Ask students to carry out Internet research on real
pirates for homework. You may wish to specify
particular periods in time (for example, Elizabethan
times or the present day) to limit the amount of
material to be covered.
Through a quick question and answer session, elicit
from students the fact that as readers we have
‘worked out’ many aspects of the narrator’s
character. Remind them of the terms inference and
Working in small groups, students should use
Resource 2a. This worksheet is for notes pinpointing
evidence for ‘facts’ about the narrator (for example,
we learn his first name on page 18 and his surname
on page 45; we know that his parents kept the
Admiral Benbow inn), for examples of what he says,
what he does and any other aspects of his
personality. Point out that by using evidence of what
he says and does we can infer what he is like as a
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 3
Lesson 3
Focus: Prediction – using clues in the text to suggest
how the plot might develop. This lesson should take
place when reading has reached at least the end of
Chapter 8 (page 74).
Objective: To predict the development of the plot
Working individually, students should write one
paragraph suggesting the main events or
developments in the plot until the end of the novel.
Point out that suggestions must be based on what is
already known about the characters and the settings.
Invite some students to share their summaries with
the rest of the class.
In pairs, ask students to tell each other the plot of a
film or TV programme they have recently seen.
Select a few students to give their plot outline to the
whole class.
It is likely that many students will bring existing
knowledge of pirate stories to the activities above.
Ask the class to produce a list of the best-known
elements in pirate tales under the heading ‘All pirate
stories have …’ Then compare their plot predictions
with this list. Is anything missing?
Ask students to draft a sales pitch (blurb) for the
book, based on their predictions of the storyline.
Through discussion, either in small groups or the
whole class, establish at what point the outcome of
the plots recalled in the activity above became clear
(or not, if the ending was a surprise). Encourage
students to use phrases such as ‘It was obvious it’d
end happily because …’ and ‘I knew who’d done it
when …’ Point out that any plot usually has pointers
along the way, even if these might deliberately
mislead us sometimes.
Ask groups of students to make a list of pointers in
the first 70 pages of the novel. (They should recall
among other things that a vicious pirate crew is
desperate for a treasure map, that the map is in the
hands of Dr Livesey, that a ship has been chartered,
that Long John Silver has chosen most of the crew
and that everyone has a high opinion of him.) You
may wish to point out other possible clues, such as
the opening paragraph, the fact that Black Dog turns
up twice in different locations or the references from
the beginning to ‘a seafaring man with one leg’.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 4
Lesson 4
Focus: Character motivation – hot-seating characters
in the novel. Best undertaken when reading has
reached the end of Part Two (page 107).
Objective: To understand the thoughts, feelings and
motivation of some characters
What is meant by ‘character motivation’? (Draw out
expressions such as ‘what makes a character tick’ or
‘what goal this character is trying to reach’.) Then
give students five minutes to think of three fictional
characters they know well from books or the media
and to write one sentence for each stating their
motivation. Take feedback.
Organize the class into groups of four. Allocate each
group one of the characters from Jim, Captain
Smollett or Long John Silver. (If there are groups of
less able students, they should be given Jim.)
Ask each group to agree what their character’s
motivation is, and to find or remember parts of the
novel that give readers this information. They should
make notes of the main points made.
Choose one student in each group to be the
interrogator and another (from a group allocated a
different character) to be the questioned character.
Hot-seat the character, with the interrogator using his
or her prepared questions. Repeat as time allows,
cycling through different characters and different
interrogators to give several students turns in role
while the rest of the class listen in order to enhance
their understanding of character motivation.
Allocate the remaining two characters to each group.
These are the characters that the group may have to
‘interrogate’. Ask the group to come up with a list of
questions they would ask these characters to find out
their motivations. Encourage most questions to be
open, along the lines of ‘Why did you …?’ or ‘What
did you think you would achieve by …?’ Tell students
to avoid questions that have simple yes/no answers.
Ask students to note down who they think is the most
complex character so far, and to be prepared to
explain to the class why they think this. Take
feedback from selected students.
For homework, ask students to research the life and
works of Robert Louis Stevenson.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 5
Lesson 5
Focus: Empathizing with a character. Best undertaken
when the reading has reached at least the end of
Chapter 18 (page 159), but it can be done as early as
reaching page 103.
Objective: To look at and record events from a
different point of view
Use Resource 5 to help students write three diary
entries for Captain Smollett at different points in the
novel. The entries should give insight into his
character as well as recording what he sees.
As an extra challenge for the more able, there is an
extract from the captain’s log on page 158. The style
of this entry could be emulated in the diary extracts.
From whose point of view is this novel narrated?
Establish that this is a first-person (‘I’) narrative. If the
class has reached page 159, they will have come
across another point of view (Dr Livesey’s). Ask the
class to suggest why the narrator changes but the
writing remains in the first person. Discuss the
advantages of making this novel a third-person
(‘he/they’) narrative and why Stevenson might have
chosen not to do so.
Choose a paragraph or two from the narrative are
good for this purpose). Ask students to rewrite these
paragraphs in the third person. Discuss what the
difficulties are in doing this and what is lost or gained
in the end result.
Tell the students that a Year 6 teacher is of the
opinion that the novel is ‘too violent’ to use with her
class. What changes could be made to make it more
suitable for younger readers without losing its
excitement and sense of adventure?
The previous lesson will have established Captain
Smollett’s motivation. Explain to the class that they
will be looking at events from his point of view, which
will be very different from the two narrators that
Stevenson used.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 6
Lesson 6
Focus: Writer’s craft – using ‘cliff-hanger’ chapter
Objective: To understand how the writer creates and
uses chapter endings to maintain the reader’s interest
Introduce or revise the ellipsis (…). One way to do
this is to tell students that the three dots can be
sounded out (like the soundtrack of a film): dn, dn,
der … Establish what this musical cue means. (A
conventional way of indicating that something very
dramatic has happened or is about to happen.) Note
that ellipses can also be used to represent an
omission of text.
Ask students to jot down three examples of cliffhanger or highly dramatic stopping points to
programmes they have recently seen. (Often these
will be immediately before a commercial break or at
the end of an episode of a serial.) Take feedback.
Carry out an investigation of the chapter endings in
the novel. You will wish to limit this to chapters
already read, and the class can work in groups, each
group being allocated a small number of chapters to
consider. The aim of the investigation is to answer
the question What is the writer doing to create a
chapter ending that makes us want to read on?
Resource 6 can be used to record results.
Ask groups to explain their findings to the rest of the
class. What patterns emerge?
Students will discover that not every chapter ends
with a cliff-hanger. Ask them to suggest why this is.
(For example, on page 46 an exciting series of
events comes to a conclusion. The story can pause
for a moment to take a breath.)
Further work on this topic can be in the form of
choosing chapters where the cliff-hanger is not used
and rewriting the chapter ending to make it more
dramatic. More able students may wish to consider
why this is not always particularly successful in terms
of the experience of reading the novel as a whole.
Point out that writers cannot use an ellipsis at the end
of all chapters, so they must find other ways of
signalling something highly dramatic and making the
reader want to read on.
With the class, consider the ending of Chapter 10
(page 90). Through question and answer, elicit the
idea that the writer is deliberately withholding from
the reader information that the narrator now has. In
order to find out what this dramatic twist is, we must
read the next chapter. This is one way of producing a
cliff-hanger, but there are others.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 7
Lesson 7
Focus: Grammar and vocabulary – the spoken
language of the pirates. This lesson is best taught after
reading to or beyond the end of Chapter 28, although
there are examples of ‘pirate speak’ much earlier that
can be used.
Objective: To analyse the grammar and vocabulary of
‘pirate speak’ as imagined by Stevenson in the novel
What is slang? Who uses it, when and why? Also,
who uses specialist vocabulary when talking to
others? (Doctors are a good example.) Why do they
do this?
Give students five minutes to produce two lists: the
the 9-5first of slang expressions they know of or use;
the second of occupations that might use particular
forms of language (known as jargon) that those not in
the job or profession would find difficult to
With the class, apply this analysis to Silver’s speech
on page 254. Start at ‘I was about desperate …’ and
finish at the end of the paragraph (‘… and he’ll save
your neck!’)
Use Resource 7 so that students can continue to
analyse vocabulary and grammar, either individually
or in pairs. Ask students to comment on what is lost
when the expressions are rewritten in Standard
You may wish to draw students’ attention to
international ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’, which takes
place on 19 September every year.
Lower attaining students can find examples of pirate
vocabulary (pages 21–24 are good for this purpose)
and to suggest Standard English replacements for
the slang words used by pirates.
Higher attaining students can be asked to write a
short conversation between two pirates on board the
Hispaniola about finding and sharing out treasure.
They should try to use both the vocabulary and the
grammar of Stevenson’s ‘pirate speak’.
Help students to identify two different aspects of
slang or occupational jargon: vocabulary (word
choice) and grammar (the arrangement and
agreement of words in a sentence). As examples you
might look at the use of the word ‘wicked’ in different
contexts and at sentences such as ‘That was well
good’ (where ‘well’ is used as an adverb or intensifier
instead of an adjective). You might also want to look
more closely at the examples students found in the
‘Engage’ activity.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 8
Lesson 8
Focus: Tracking an idea across the text; exploring
notions of honour; writing a short essay entitled
‘Honour and Duty in Treasure Island’
Objective: To look at how an idea is presented across
a whole novel
It is not very often these days that we hear the
expression ‘honour among thieves’. What does it
mean? Ask students to make up two or three modern
scenarios where this concept might be shown. If a
prompt is needed, look at the notion of ‘not grassing’
in the criminal world. Take feedback to establish the
meaning of ‘honour’.
Ask students to note down examples from the novel
where characters ‘do their duty’ (sometimes ‘dooty’ in
‘pirate speak’). Remind them, if necessary, that the
notion of duty can encompass simply following
orders, whether you are a pirate or a captain.
Using their evidence, ask pairs or groups to give an
example to the class of where a pirate or pirates act
according to their sense of duty or their sense of
honour. Through discussion, establish whether this is
a surprise to the reader and/or is simply a convenient
way to advance the plot.
Use Resource 8a to range across the novel finding
examples of when characters do their duty or act
honourably. It will only be necessary to refer to
events or conversations, not to quote them in this
instance. Ask students to work in pairs or small
groups for this activity. Lower attaining students
could be directed to Chapters 28–30, where both the
pirates and Jim stick to an honourable code of
Ask students to write three or four paragraphs under
the title ‘Honour and Duty in Treasure Island’.
Challenge more able students to find examples of
both honour and duty in the honest men and the
Resource 8b is a writing frame to support students
through the writing process.
Through discussion, establish how the concepts of
duty and honour are slightly different. (One is
normally a contractual obligation; the other is usually
a moral obligation.)
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 9
Lesson 9
Focus: Exploring narrative viewpoint; writing a recount
of events from a different perspective. This lesson is
best taught once the whole novel has been read.
Objective: To understand why there are changes of
narrator in the novel; to write a version of events from
a different narrative viewpoint
Remind students, if necessary, of the meaning of the
term ‘narrator’. We established in Lesson 2 that this
story is mainly told in the first person by Jim Hawkins.
Ask students to look at the opening paragraph and to
rewrite it in the third person (‘he’ – as if the author
was the narrator).
Discuss what changes have been made in the text.
You may wish to focus on the pronouns. Also ask the
class to consider what the effect of this rewrite is. It
should be possible to establish that there is a loss of
immediacy with the third-person version.
Since the author is free to vary the narrator for the
purpose of telling the story more effectively, who else
might pick up the narration? Resource 9 is an extract
from the text (pages 172–174). Here, Silver is clearly
referring to events that the group in the stockade
know nothing of. Students can annotate the source
text to indicate how we know this, and what must
have happened in the pirate camp.
Ask students to write the events of the attack on the
pirate camp from Silver’s point of view. They should
include the heavy drinking, the surprise attack and
Silver’s excuse that he was asleep, not drunk.
If the whole novel were narrated by Silver, where and
how would it begin? Take suggestions from the class.
For homework, ask students to write the opening two
or three paragraphs of a version of the novel with
Silver as narrator. Higher attaining students can be
challenged to use Silver’s style of speech for the
Direct attention to the title of Chapter 16 (page 139):
‘Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship
was Abandoned’. Point out that although the writing
is still in the first person (‘I’), the narrator has
changed. Elicit why Stevenson does this. (Jim is on
the island, so cannot know what is happening aboard
ship.) Ask at what point the narrator shifts again
(Chapter 19), and again ensure that students
understand why this is.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 10
Lesson 10
Focus: Considering the language, plot and structure of
the novel as a whole; summarizing the best qualities of
the book
Objective: To understand how to promote a book
through words and design
Ask students to think of a recent book, TV
programme or film that has impressed them. They
should come up with a single sentence that sums up
why someone else should read/watch it. (It may be
helpful to allow a one-paragraph summary in the first
instance, then to pare it down to absolute essentials.)
Take feedback so that selected students can read
out their ‘pitch’. Also ask them to explain how they
decided what to include and what to leave out.
Explain that a book jacket is very carefully designed.
Often there will be an intriguing or descriptive front
cover and also a blurb on the back to give a little
information about the plot and to entice readers to
buy the book. The blurb is written by a specialist, not
usually by the author.
Resource 10 contains different cover designs for
Treasure Island. Allocate one design to each group
of three or four students and ask them to discuss and
feed back on how it also helps to sell the book.
Students can also explain which is their favourite (i.e.
most effective) design and why.
If available, distribute a selection of novels (from the
class or school library) and ask students, working in
small groups, to consider how blurb writers attempt to
‘sell’ a novel. Try to ensure that students cover the
ideas of a brief plot summary (although never spoiling
any twist or ending); usually some indication of the
setting; making the novel sound exciting, intriguing,
action-packed or frightening as appropriate; and often
finishing with a question so that the reader must read
the book in order to answer it.
Students can be given a choice of either writing a
new blurb for Treasure Island or coming up with a
new cover design. The writing or design should be
annotated to show why particular aspects or
elements were selected and how they help to
promote the book.
For further work on this topic, ask students to
imagine there is to be a new three-part adaptation of
Treasure Island for TV. What would they include in
the trailer, and why?
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 11
Lesson 11
Focus: Changing the form of the text
Objective: To write a radio play script for a section of
the text
There is also an audio version of Treasure Island for
younger children with rudimentary video:
A 1951 American radio version of the story is here:
Working in pairs, ask students to write a brief script of
a conversation they have recently had together, or (if
they do not usually work together) a conversation
they have made up. Pairs can perform their script to
the class.
Higher attaining students can be encouraged to work
out why the conversation does not sound natural.
What features of everyday informal speech do scripts
generally not use? (Fillers, repetition, speech
If possible, play a short selection of extracts from
radio plays. (An excellent source is BBC iPlayer
Introduce students to the layout and specialist
language of the radio script. Use Resource 11 as an
example of how to script a scene. Ask students to
choose a short section of the text, preferably one with
dialogue as well as action, to turn into a radio script.
Support students in writing a short radio script. They
will usually need reminding that the action cannot be
seen by the listener, so they must find a way to
describe it.
As an extra challenge, invite students to perform their
scripts, with other members of the class as the cast.
Those with computer skills can record their efforts,
complete with soundtrack and effects.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 12
Lesson 12
Focus: Skimming and scanning to locate relevant
information; an oral presentation considering a
favourite part of the novel
Objective: To practise the skills of skimming and
scanning; to give a descriptive and explanatory talk
Tell the students that they are only allowed to choose
one of the 34 chapters as their favourite part of the
novel. Ask them to jot down a few notes as to what
makes a highlight of the story (action? suspense?
character description? intriguing dialogue?), then to
note the chapter number that best meets their
criteria. Encourage students to simply read the
chapter titles as a reminder of what happens.
Point out to students that they have just practised the
skill of scanning (moving quickly through a text
searching out key headings or images).
Students should now work on an oral presentation
entitled ‘A highlight of our reading of Treasure Island’.
Where several students have chosen the same
chapter, they can be grouped together at the
teacher’s discretion to work on a group presentation.
A class vote might identify a small list of candidate
chapters and an overall favourite.
Now they can practise skimming (moving fairly
quickly through a selected portion of a text in order to
‘get the gist’). They should skim read the chapter
they chose as their personal highlight and make a list
of the key events or qualities in the writing that made
it a favourite.
Allow time for students to prepare their presentation.
This can use PowerPoint, or other visual aids, as well
as readings from the text and careful explanations of
why the particular chapter was chosen. Students
should present their work, individually or in pairs or
groups, to an audience. Usually this will be the rest of
the class, but other audiences such as parents or
peers from other classes are good motivators for an
excellent finished product.
Distribute the Self-assessment sheet. Ask students
to reflect on the skills that they have practised, and to
assess their levels of confidence in using these skills.
Ensure areas of uncertainty are highlighted and
targets for improvement are incorporated into future
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 1
Resource 1
KWL chart
1 Think about what you have read in Chapter 1.
 In the first column, write what you already know about the characters and the setting.
 In the second column, write what else you want to know and how they might figure in the story.
 After you have read further, write what you have learned in the third column.
What I Know
What I Want to Know
What I Have Learned
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 2
Resource 2a
The narrator
Use this sheet to note down evidence that builds up a picture of the narrator. For each aspect that
you cover, copy down a phrase or a sentence from the text that supports your point and note the
page number.
The narrator
‘Facts’ about him (for example,
his name, where he lives)
Things he says that give clues
about his character
Things he does that give clues
about his character
Aspects of his personality that
you can deduce from what
others say about him or to him
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 2
Resource 2b
Summarizing and using quotations
Using the evidence you gathered on Resource 2a, write a short summary of the character of the
narrator. Remember to use quotations to support the points you make.
Tips for quotations
Quotations can
be set out separately,
like this:
Or you can use embedded
quotations, where you
incorporate words from
the text into your own
sentence, like this:
Use the space below to write your summary. Continue over the page.
The character of the narrator
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 5
Resource 5
Captain Smollett’s diary
 Make notes in the grid below for three diary entries written by Captain Smollett. Each entry
should be written at a different point in the story. Think carefully about how Captain Smollett
would have seen the people and events, and how he might record them in his personal diary or
captain’s log.
 Write up the three diary entries in full, separately.
In Bristol (Chapter 7)
The Voyage of the Hispaniola to the Island (Chapter 10)
The Council of War (Chapter 12)
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 6
Resource 6
Investigating chapter endings
Take a close look at the chapter endings, focusing on how the writer makes us want to read on.
Record your findings in the grid below. The first one has been completed as an example.
The writer arranges events in the story (putting Jim in the apple barrel) so
that Jim knows something we don’t – and this information might save the lives
10 (page 90)
of the honest men on the ship.
We need to read on to find out what the ‘dozen words’ were that Jim
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 7
Resource 7
The language of pirates
Annotate each of the pirate expressions on this sheet to show:
 examples of vocabulary that is not Standard English
 places where the word order or grammar does not follow the ‘rules’ of Standard English.
Then, rewrite the sentences in Standard English.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 8
Resource 8
Honour and Duty in Treasure Island (1)
Find examples from different parts of the novel to fill in all four panels in the table below.
You need only note down what happens in a particular event or conversation and do not need to
quote it (although a page or chapter number will help you to find it again).
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 8
Resource 8b
Honour and Duty in Treasure Island (2)
Use the ideas you gathered in Resource 8a to write a short essay exploring the ideas of honour and
duty in the novel. You may wish to use these sentence starters for some of your paragraphs.
Honour and duty are similar ideas but they are not the same. Duty is …
Honour is …
The pirates do their duty when …
Surprisingly, they behave honourably when they …
As we might expect, the narrator and the honest men do their duty and behave with honour.
This is shown when …
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 9
Resource 9
Extract from Chapter 20
In this extract, Silver is describing events that the men in the stockade know nothing about.
Make notes around the text to show:
 how we know this
 how the writer ensures that we see how Captain Smollett does not give away the fact that he has
no knowledge of the events Silver describes.
‘If you have anything to say, my man, better say it,’ said the
‘Right you were, Cap’n Smollett,’ replied Silver. ‘Dooty is dooty, to
be sure. Well, now, you look here, that was a good lay of yours last night. I
don’t deny it was a good lay. Some of you pretty handy with a handspikeend. And I’ll not deny neither but what some of my people was shook –
maybe all was shook; maybe I was shook myself; maybe that’s why I’m
here for terms. But you mark me, cap’n, it won’t do twice, by thunder!
We’ll have to do sentry-go and ease off a point or so on the rum. Maybe
you think we were all a sheet in the wind’s eye. But I’ll tell you I was
sober; I was on’y dog tired; and if I’d awoke a second sooner, I’d a’ caught
you at the act, I would. He wasn’t dead when I got round to him, not he.’
‘Well?’ says Captain Smollett as cool as can be.
All that Silver said was a riddle to him, but you would never have
guessed it from his tone. As for me, I began to have an inkling. Ben Gunn’s
last words came back to my mind. I began to suppose that he had paid the
buccaneers a visit while they all lay drunk together round their fire, and I
reckoned up with glee that we had only fourteen enemies to deal with.
‘Well, here it is,’ said Silver. ‘We want that treasure, and we’ll have
it – that’s our point! You would just as soon save your lives, I reckon; and
that’s yours. You have a chart, haven’t you?’
‘That’s as may be,’ replied the captain.
‘Oh, well, you have, I know that,’ returned Long John. ‘You needn’t
be so husky with a man; there ain’t a particle of service in that, and you
may lay to it. What I mean is, we want your chart. Now, I never meant you
no harm, myself.’
‘That won’t do with me, my man,’ interrupted the captain. ‘We
know exactly what you meant to do, and we don’t care, for now, you see,
you can’t do it.’
And the captain looked at him calmly, and proceeded to fill a pipe.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 10
Resource 10
Covers for Treasure Island
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 11
Resource 11
Radio script
The production
team need to
know whether
the scene takes
place inside
(INT) or outside
(EXT) so that
they can
produce the right
type of sound.
Here is a short extract from a radio script of part of Treasure Island.
The annotations show how to indicate what is required to the actors
and production team.
FADE UP is to
increase the
sound. FADE
DOWN is the
SFX means
‘Sound effect’.
This is a specific
sound that goes
with the action,
rather than a
The speaker is
given in capitals
with a colon after
the name.
Speech marks
are not used.
FADE UP GRAMS: Theme from Spartacus.
GRAMS refers to
a soundtrack
that introduces
or ends a play or
scene. Often it is
a piece of music.
SFX: Waves striking the hull of a wooden ship.
This should play under the whole scene.
Dick! You just jump up and get me an
apple, to wet my pipe like.
NARRATOR: Jim was filled with a sudden terror. He
was certain that he would be
discovered hiding in the apple barrel!
He knew that the game was up.
The pirates would kill him.
(Angrily) Oh, stow that! Let’s have a
go of the rum.
Very well, boys. Come with me.
The writer can
indicate to the
actor how a line
should be said.
This instruction
is placed in
brackets before
the actual words
SFX: Silver’s wooden leg across the deck, fading as it
LOOK-OUT: Land ho!
NARRATOR: The crew rushed on deck to catch a
sight of land. In the excitement Jim
slipped out of the barrel and dived
behind the foresail.
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island: Lesson 12
You practised this when:
I can do
this very
I can do
this quite
I need to
Reading: close reading and
asking questions of the text
Reading: deduction and
Reading: prediction
Reading: looking at the way
a text is put together to keep
the reader interested
Reading: following an idea
running through a whole
Reading: looking carefully at
who tells us the story
Reading: skimming and
Writing: summarizing
Writing: copying a given
Writing: rewriting to increase
drama and excitement
Writing: turning a section of
the novel into a script
Spoken English: speaking in
Spoken English: giving a
presentation to an audience
Grammar and vocabulary:
looking at the features of a
particular way of talking
© Oxford University Press 2016
Treasure Island
Further Reading
Robert Louis Stevenson did not write any further pirate
stories. He enjoyed great success with Kidnapped,
another ‘rollicking yarn’, although not this time about
pirates. He is perhaps best known for Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde, but this is a challenging read for younger
students. It is often used as a set text for GCSE English
Students who have enjoyed Treasure Island may also
be interested in these novels and plays featuring pirates:
The Cassaforte Chronicles, Volume 2: The Buccaneer’s
Apprentice by V Briceland. On a sea voyage away from
the magical city of Cassaforte, 17-year-old Nic Dattore is
taken by surprise when his ship is overrun by marauding
pirates and everyone else on board is kidnapped or
killed. Published in 2010, this is a real ‘ripping yarn’.
On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers (published in 2006) is
a swashbuckling story featuring a puppeteer, John
Chandagnac, who is captured by pirates and offered the
choice of joining the crew or death. He assumes the
name John Shandy and begins a new life as a
Silver: Return to Treasure Island by Andrew Motion. Jim
Hawkins’s son and Long John Silver’s daughter set off
on an adventure to Treasure Island, but the island is no
longer uninhabited. In this novel, Motion replicates many
of the features of the language in the original text.
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. This is a
charmingly old-fashioned novel set in the Lake District in
1929. The children of two families, the Walkers and the
Blacketts, join forces to outwit the Blacketts’ unfriendly
uncle, James Turner, whom they call Captain Flint (one
of several references to Treasure Island in the novel).
The children sail two dinghies, the Swallow and the
Amazon, and after a series of competitions and
adventures, including night crossings of the lake and
encounters with burglars, conduct a mock battle with
Turner. The children win the battle and force Turner to
‘walk the plank’ on his houseboat before all ends
Classic pirate films include the Pirates of the Caribbean
trilogy, Hook (derived from Peter Pan) and, for light
relief, Muppet Treasure Island.
Pirates! by Celia Rees (for more mature readers). Two
young women are thrown together by chance in the
West Indies and run away to escape the oppression in
their lives. As pirates, they roam the seas, fight pitched
battles against their foes and become embroiled in many
© Oxford University Press 2016